The most skillful directors possess a cinematic vision that clearly distinguishes them from other filmmakers. Composition, lighting, editing, color, and music are just a few areas in which a director has an overwhelming array of options. One interesting characteristic of David Fincher’s directing style lies in the fact that his camera movement has little to no personality. It’s not especially flashy or even very human-like but it’s still dynamic. His straightforward, almost robotic way of shooting really illustrates not only what’s most important in a given scene but gives clues for future developments in the story.
Fincher’s usage of close-ups (or lack thereof) is also unique, as shown in a new supercut by Jacob T. Swinney. The video is a fascinating compilation of scenes from Alien 3, Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl. Because Fincher doesn’t use the specific shot very much, it’s worth paying attention when he does, even if it’s something as innocuous as a key sliding into a lock.
Swinney explains it best:
The extreme close-up may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of David Fincher’s unique visual aesthetic. That’s because Fincher’s extreme close-ups don’t call attention to themselves. The filmmaker stitches the shots into his pictures in a way that is subtle and fluid, yet impactful and abrasive. They often go unnoticed, sitting just under the surface and scratching at our eyes. In my previous two Extreme Close-Up videos, I looked at Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson, two masters of the ECU. If Tarantino and PTA use the ECU as explanation points, Fincher’s are used as hyphens, semicolons, and parentheses.